Millions of family members and caregivers suffer silently each year, as they watch family and friends lose themselves to disease. One of the most difficult realizations is that a loved one is losing their cognition and mental stability to a degenerative disease. Many people suffer from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and want to know what causes it, how to prevent it, and how it can be treated.
Gizem Donmez is one professional in the field who is devoting herself to the study of neurodegenerative disease. She not only studies Alzheimer’s, but also diseases like Parkinson’s. More specifically, Gizem Donmez studies the molecules of the brain in relation to the behavior and cause of the disease. The particular molecules she has studied for years are called sirtuins.
Gizem Donmez found it intriguing that so little was known about aging, even though it is a process people inevitably experience during every moment of their lives. In her lab, Gizem Donmez studies aging, disease, and the relation sirtuins play in the process. With a PhD in molecular biology, Gizem Donmez combines her skills and knowledge of biology, biochemistry, genetics, and more to try to develop a possible treatment for neurodegenerative disease, but also understand what happens to the brain as it ages.
While Gizem Donmez has only been studying and conducting research in the topic at Tufts University for a short period of time, her work follows her back to her time at MIT as a postdoctoral fellow. It was in 2011 that Gizem Donmez started her position as assistant professor of neuroscience at Tufts University. In 2012, just one year into her new role, Gizem Donmez was awarded the 2012 New Scholar Award in Aging given by the Ellison Foundation. The award was given for her research, “Investigating the Heat Shock Response in Aging Mammalian Brain.”